Bee hieroglyph (Apis sp.)

Egypt, Beni Hassan, Khnumhotep II (Tomb 3), Upper Cemetery, South wall.

Publication

N. Kanawati & L. Evans, Beni Hassan: Volume I: The Tomb of Khnumhotep II (Australian Centre for Egyptology: Reports 36, Aris and Phillips, Oxford, 2014, ISBN: 978-0-85668-846-1), pls. 81b (photograph),

Description

The Egyptian hieroglyphic script features many images of animals, including insects. The 'bee' hieroglyph (Egyptian name: bity) shown here is highly stylised, with exaggerated feet, unusually long antennae, and a beak-like head -- none of which is a characteristic of honeybees. The bee sign was a royal symbol, signifying the northern Delta region of Lower Egypt over which the pharaoh ruled. The insects also had religious significance for the Egyptians, with mythology stating that when the sun god Re wept one day, his tears turned into bees as they fell to the ground.

Details

Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, Reign of Amenemhat II (c. 1918-1884 B.C.E.). Egypt, Beni Hassan, Upper Cemetery, Khnumhotep II (Tomb 3), South wall, upper eastern section. Polychrome paint on limestone (photograph). Relief (photograph).

Referencing

Publication

N. Kanawati & L. Evans, Beni Hassan: Volume I: The Tomb of Khnumhotep II (Australian Centre for Egyptology: Reports 36, Aris and Phillips, Oxford, 2014, ISBN: 978-0-85668-846-1), pls. 81b (photograph),

Project Funding

Project funded by the Australian Research Council Discovery Project Scheme: "Measuring meaning in Egyptian art: A new approach to an intractable problem" (DP160102223), held by N. Kanawati (Macquarie University), L. Evans (Macquarie University), A. Woods (Macquarie University) and J. Kamrin (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York); the Department of Ancient History and Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University.

Rights

Photograph by Effy Alexakis, Photowrite. Recorded and published with permission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities. Copyright original photograph owners, used with the Macquarie University license. All rights reserved, no redistribution of images or content from this site without prior permission (or otherwise compatible with Australian Copyright Fair Dealing).

Data Credits

Compiled by Linda Evans and the Beni Hassan Research Group with resources from the Macquarie University Ancient Cultures Research Centre, and the Australian Centre for Egyptology.

Cite This

Linda Evans "Bee hieroglyph (Apis sp.)." In The Beni Hassan Visual Dictionary: Khnumhotep II, edited by Alexandra Woods, Brian Ballsun-Stanton, and Nicolle Leary. Sydney: Macquarie University, 2018. https://benihassan.com/exhibition/Kanawati-Evans-BH1-Pl-81b-Beni-Hassan-3-Khnumhotep-II-Chapel-Inscription-South-wall-Left-Upper-section/